4 mistakes you likely made after discovering your strengths

Many people claim to know what their strengths are. However, this knowledge doesn’t seem to be having the amazing effects in our world that experts predict. Why is that?

Here are four traps that can lead you to waste the time and money you invested in finding your strengths. Which apply to you?


1. Forgetting about it.

I spoke recently with somebody about the Myers-Briggs personality test. The conversation went something like this.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ve done the Myers-Briggs stuff already”

“Great, what was your profile?”

“Oh heck… hmmm… can’t remember”

“No problem. What did you learn?”


There are many strength-finding tests and reflection exercises out there, but too often we do them and never look back. We need to internalise the learnings of these resources and capture the insights for long-term benefit. We’ll speak more about this later in the post.

2. Indulging in “strength p*rn” - reading about it, never using it.

A second mistake is a related one. It’s not so much that we forget what our strengths are, it’s that we fail to apply the information. Have we adjusted our job or role to better exploit our strengths? Has our desired life-path or career-path taken into account the new insights? Are we playing to our strengths more and more over time?

3. Limiting yourself - treating it as definitive.

The next mistake is too be TOO boxed in by strength assessments. I have been guilty of this in the past: I’ve overlooked real strengths because they weren’t flagged on some report or another. It’s important to see the process of understanding your strengths as a gradual journey of self-discovery, and not to limit yourself or treat any one diagnosis or description as definitive.

I’ve also over-emphasised weaknesses on the grounds that - for example “I’m just not a tactful person”. Many weaknesses we can mitigate, and certainly knowing our strengths should not be an excuse for failing to shore up any besetting weaknesses.

4. Forgetting that you are a multifaceted gem!

You are a multifaceted gem and not a four-by-four grid! There are many different tools available for learning about your strengths, but do not over-index on any particular one.

It’s true, I am a bit of a self-assessment junkie! I enjoy taking tests like StrengthFinder, MBTI and StandOut. But the value of taking multiple tests is that each system brings out a specific angle and looks at things through a different lens.

strengthsfinder standout enneagram ultimate guide

The more ‘camera angles’ you have on your strengths, the more rounded and detailed picture you will have. Don’t settle for one or two views.

In a later article in this series (subscribe now to avoid missing it!) , we are going to look at strengths in eight different areas, which I have managed to shoe-horn into the acronym S.T.R.E.N.G.T.H 🙂

  1. Skills
  2. Temperament
  3. Reasons
  4. Experiences
  5. Networks
  6. Goods & assets
  7. Traits
  8. Heel

Which mistake have you fallen for? Own up in the comments section below!

And why not download the full "Find Your Strengths Material" as a convenient PDF using the form below...

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